After taking down the overall No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament in the Elite Eight, the Michigan State Spartans have to be feeling good about their chances with only the Texas Tech Red Raiders standing between them and a chance at the National Championship. This is the first Final Four appearance for Tech, but they didn’t get here by accident. The Red Raiders tossed a blanket over some really good offensive clubs this season en route to an impressive 30-6 record and share of the Big 12 regular season title.
- Date and Time: Saturday, April 6, 2019, 8:49 p.m. ET
- Location: U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN
- Opening CBB Odds: Michigan State -2.5, O/U 132.5
- Texas Tech vs. Michigan State TV Coverage: CBS
There’s another team in the Final Four that gets more ink for their defensive prowess than Texas Tech, but the Red Raiders aren’t backing down from anybody and have silenced some special teams and individual scorers in the NCAA Tournament. And they used a loss to lowly West Virginia in the Big 12 tournament as fuel for their unexpected run.
The loss to the Mountaineers may have cost Tech a higher seeding in the Big Dance, but don’t be fooled. This is a strong team. The Red Raiders ended the regular season on a nine-game winning streak, taking down fellow NCAA Tournament participants Kansas , Baylor, Oklahoma and Iowa State along the way to grab a share of the Big 12 regular season title. That loss to West Virginia was just one of those things that scholars spend decades trying to figure out.
Since then Tech has been on lock-down mode thanks to one of the top defensive units in the country and Jarrett Culver. The Red Raiders allow 59 points per game to rank third in the country and they rank first in other defensive analytics. Tech is No. 1 in defensive BPI according to ESPN and tops in adjusted defensive efficiency according to kenpom.com. In other words, they are really good at limiting other teams around the basket.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure that out, just look at the Tournament results. Northern Kentucky was held to nearly 20 points below its season average. Buffalo was frustrated and produced just 58 points, which was well below its average. Michigan was lucky to score 40 and made just 1 of 19 three-pointers. And we saw what Tech did to Gonzaga in the Elite Eight.
While the Red Raiders will likely have success shutting down the Spartans, scoring will be a different issue. Sparty is pretty good at defending, too. That’s where Culver comes in. A projected NBA lottery pick, Culver scored 19 against the Zags and leads the team with 18.9 per game. He will get plenty of attention from MSU, but Culver also has a way of making his teammates better.
The Spartans have their own fearless leader in Cassius Winston, who put the team on his shoulders when Josh Langford was lost for the year. He also carried the club when Nick Ward missed time and has developed into one of the best players in the country.
Sparty’s focus will be on stopping Culver while Tech will pressure Winston. That leaves other players available to help out so look for Tech’s Davide Moretti, a big-time shot maker who hits over 46 percent of his threes, and State’s Xavier Tillman, who has become a favorite target of Winston’s pinpoint passes, to have big games on the live betting lines at Betcris.com.
Betcris offers play-by-play betting odds for live sporting events every day! The user-friendly wagering interface on your smartphone provides an easy way to place bets on the go. Mobile betting lines are updated by the minute, so click here to start gambling on thrilling live action at Betcris!
Texas Tech vs. Michigan State Live Betting
First one to 50 wins. The game may not be that low scoring but it sure isn’t going to be a track meet the way these teams play defense. Tech is committed on that end of the floor and they contest every shot like their life depends on it. And their Tournament life certainly did. The talk leading up to this game will be about Culver and Winston, and rightfully so. Being the focus of every opponent’s attention, they still offer up big numbers and will do so again on Saturday. I like Tech’s relentless style on both sides of the floor and the Raiders’ length will give MSU problems, leading to a Texas Tech victory.
Final Four Score Prediction: Texas Tech 69, Michigan State 63
Check out our sports videos to get the latest news and game analysis, don't forget to like and subscribe.